The Lexington Wildcats have been getting things done the hard way this postseason, and making it through the Lower State baseball tournament will be no exception.
Lexington, the 2013 Class 4A champion, dropped into the losers bracket on Saturday, falling to No. 1-ranked Sumter 7-0 at home in the first game of the tournament. The Wildcats fought through the losers bracket in the District 5 tournament and won two games on Wednesday to take the title.
“We had to empty the tank just to get here,” coach Brian Hucks said. “We knew it was going to be a tall task facing Sumter, the No. 1 team in the state, and seeing their ace Charlie Barnes.”
“We wanted to grind out at-bats, and they did a great job of controlling the running game,” he said.
The Wildcats had four hits, and their best chance at scoring came in the fourth inning after Marshal Pratte singled, stole second and advanced to third on a Justin Bowers ground out. But Sumter caught Cameron Matthews stealing to close the inning and leave Pratte stranded.
Sumter (24-2) was led by Barnes (8-1) in an unblemished defensive outing. He posted six strikeouts and allowed three hits, but the score was 0-0 after four innings.
With one hit and two Lexington errors, the Gamecocks put two runs across in the fifth. Then, with the bases loaded in the top of the sixth, Jordan Holladay was hit by a pitch, forcing in a run by Donte Hartman.
James Barnes’ two-run single added pressure on the Wildcats, and two unearned runs set the final score.
Lexington (20-9) will face elimination against Wando or West Ashley on Monday.
“We showed last week that we can get through the losers bracket, and we’ll have to find a way to do it again,” Hucks said.
“This is a resilient team, and we’ll do what we’ve got to do. We’ll dust off today and show up for practice tomorrow and be ready to go on the road Monday and find a way to win.”
Sumter coach Brooks Shumake said that despite the weekend’s lopsided result, the Gamecocks have a healthy respect for the defending champions.
“We’ve got to play a game Monday, Lexington has to go play Monday,” he said. “Both teams are going to go play, and both of these programs expect to go win…It wouldn’t surprise me if we would see them come back around again.”
T.L. Hanna 3, Fort Mill 1
Rock Hill at Northwestern, ppd to Monday at 6:30 p.m.
Sumter 7, Lexington 0
Wando 5, West Ashley 3
Ninety Six 4, Chesnee 2
Central 9, Indian Land 4
Bishop England 6, Wade Hampton 3
Loris 6, Dillon 1
Dixie 10, St. Joseph's 0
Lewisville 5, Fox Creek 4
Lake View 6, Johnsonville 2
Latta 4, East Clarendon 3
Byrnes 6, Clover 5
Mauldin at Northwestern
Wando 3, Summerville 2
Bluffton 5, Stratford 2
Crescent 4, Ninety Six 0
Central 6, Andrew Jackson 2
Barnwell 14, Silver Bluff 7
Waccamaw 8, Dillon 5
Dixie 9, McBee 0.
Lewisville 5, Fox Creek 4